Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Nissan Motorsports International Co., Ltd. (NISMO) have announced their 2012 global motorsports program.Nissan won numerous championships in motor races in 2011. For 2012, it will participate in the GT500 class of the SUPER GT series, the top motorsports competition series in Japan, provide support in overseas races, mainly by offering its engines to teams participating in LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2) Class, and support customer teams which use the NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3, available to customers beginning this year.Nissan will further support grassroots activities through a driver scholarship program and support for racing teams that enter national championship series around the world.In pursuit of racing through electric cars, Nissan will continue demo runs globally with NISSAN LEAF NISMO RC, which has the same high performance lithium-ion battery and motor as the mass-produced electric car, the NISSAN LEAF.Nissan and NISMO once again provide excitement and entertainment to customers through dynamic motorsports competition. A summary of 2012 motorsports activities are as follows:Japan1. SUPER GT1) GT500 Class■ Vehicles:The R35 model NISSAN GT-R will take part in the SUPER GT series' GT500 class.NISMO will develop the cars and provide technical support for participating teams. The 2012 NISSAN GT-R incorporates changes in the VRH34B engine that include improved torque characteristics, along with increased horsepower in accordance with regulation changes. Also significantly improved is aerodynamics performance, achieved through a full refinement of aero parts. A lowered centre of gravity and optimal load distribution are also achieved by weight reduction.■ Team Composition:MOLA, NISMO, TEAM IMPUL and KONDO RACING will deploy one car each, for a total of four Nissan GT-Rs competing across the Nissan teams in the GT500 Class. Kunihiko Kakimoto will continue as the general director of the teams driving Nissan cars.
No./Entrant/Team principal/Drivers/Vehicle name/Tyre Brand
1 MOLA/Toshiomi OekiRonnie Quintarelli (Italy)/ Masataka Yanagida (Japan)S Road REITO MOLA GT-RMichelin
23 NISMO/Yutaka SuzukiMichael Krumm (Germany)/ Satoshi Motoyama (Japan)MOTUL AUTECH GT-RBridgestone
12 TEAM IMPUL/Kazuyoshi HoshinoJoão Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil)/ Tsugio Matsuda (Japan)Calsonic IMPUL GT-RBridgestone
24 KONDO RACING/Masahiko KondoBjörn Wirdheim (Sweden)/ Hironobu Yasuda (Japan)D'station ADVAN GT-RYokohama
2) GT300 Class■ Vehicle:The R35 model NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 will take part in the SUPER GT series' GT300 class for the first time.The NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3 is built specially for racing according to the FIA GT3 technical regulations, based on the R35 model NISSAN GT-R.■ Team Composition:NDDP (Nissan Driver Development Program) RACING, headed by team principal Masahiro Hasemi, will participate in the GT300 class with two Nissan Advance Scholarship drivers.
No./Entrant/Team principal/Drivers/Vehicle name/Tyre Brand
3 NDDP RACING/Masahiro HasemiYuhi Sekiguchi (Japan)/ Katsumasa Chiyo (Japan)S Road NDDP GT-RYokohama
2. Nissan Driver Development Program (NDDP)Nissan will continue to support Formula Challenge Japan (FCJ), which started in 2006 with the aim of educating young drivers to enable them to compete worldwide and in the Japanese top category.Among Nissan Advance Scholarship drivers, two drivers will take part in the SUPER GT series' GT300 class and one driver in the National (N) Class of the All-Japan F3 Championship. Two additional individuals have been selected as Nissan Scholarship drivers and will receive support to run in FCJ.■ NDDP Advance Scholarship Drivers: SUPER GT (GT300 Class): Yuhi Sekiguchi (24), Katsumasa Chiyo (24) All-Japan F3 Championship (N Class): Daiki Sasaki (20)■ NDDP FCJ Scholarship Drivers: Mitsunori Takaboshi (19), Kiyoto Fujinami (16)3. Super TaikyuNISMO provides technical support to customer teams participating in the Super Taikyu series in Japan.
Europe1. European Le Mans Series (ELMS)NISMO will offer its NISSAN VK45DE engine, which is developed based on mass production engine, and provide technical support to Greaves Motorsport.■ Team Composition:
No./Entrant/Team principal/Drivers1 Greaves Motorsport/Tim GreavesAlex Brundle(U.K.)/Tom Kimber-Smith (U.K.) Lucas Ordoñez (Spain)
2. 24 Hours of Le MansNISMO will also offer its NISSAN VK45DE engine and provide technical support to Greaves Motorsport for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Among 18 vehicles entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class, 11 vehicles are equipped with VK45DE engines. A former British Formula One driver Martin Brundle, with his son Alex Brundle, will take part in this race. ■ Team Composition:
42 Greaves Motorsport/Tim GreavesMartin Brundle (U.K.)/Alex Brundle (U.K.) Lucas Ordoñez (Spain)
3. World Endurance Championship (WEC)NISMO will offer its NISSAN VK45DE engine and provide technical support to the Signatech Nissan team that will participate in WEC LMP2 class.■ Team CompositionNo./Entrant/Team principal/Drivers
23 Signatech Nissan/Philippe SinaultJordan Tresson (France)/Franck Mailleux (France)/ Olivier Lombard (France)
4. Blancpain Endurance SeriesAlex Buncombe (U.K.), Christopher Ward (U.K.) and Jann Mardenborough (U.K.), winner of the GT Academy 2011, will take part in the Blancpain Endurance Series with the R35 model NISSAN GT-R NISMO GT3. (Team: GT ACADEMY TEAM RJN)5. GT AcademyThe past three champions of the GT Academy, namely Lucas Ordoñez (Spain, 2008 winner), Jordan Tresson (France, 2010 winner) and Jann Mardenborough (U.K., 2011 winner), are expected to to be among the top drivers in endurance racing events, mainly in Europe, this year.Nissan Germany recently announced the establishment of GT Academy in its own country and the trainee selection program will begin in early March.
North America1. GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car ChallengeB.J. Zacharias and Bryan Heitkotter, both from the U.S.A., will participate in the GS Class in this series with a NISSAN 370Z. Heitkotter will take part in selective events.Lara Tallman and Vesko Kozarov, both from the U.S.A., will take part in the ST Class with a NISSAN Altima Coupe.2. Pirelli World ChallengeMike Skeen (U.S.A.) will participate in the GT class in this racing series with the NISSAN GT-R. Rick Bushey, Greg Shaffer and Brian Kleeman, all from the U.S.A., will take part in the GTS class with a NISSAN 370Z.3. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing SeriesCarl Renezeder (U.S.A.) will take part in the 2WD and 4WD classes with a NISSAN Titan full-size pick up truck, while Casey Currie (U.S.A.) will participate in the Pro Light Class with a NISSAN Titan.4. The Off-Road Championship SeriesChad Hord (U.S.A.) will participate in the 2WD class with a NISSAN Titan pickup truck, and Brad Lovell (U.S.A.), in the Pro Light Class, with a NISSAN Frontier.OthersAustralian V8 Supercars ChampionshipNissan will participate in the V8 Supercars Championship, based in Australia, from 2013, as the third manufacturer along with Ford and GM-owned Holden.